Acworth city council passes resolution condemning racism

Acworth City Hall in article about Baker Road annexationAcworth City Hall sign (photo by Larry Felton Johnson)

Acworth City Council members passed a resolution at Thursday evening’s meeting condemning racism in light of the murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and other Black people across the country.

“Today there was a memorial service held in Minneapolis to honor George Floyd,” Mayor Tommy Allegood said. “Our nation and our community mourn the tragic events that took the life of Mr. George Floyd.”

Allegood presented the resolution to councilmember Tim Houston, his wife and three of their grandchildren. Houston and his family stood as Allegood read them the resolution.

The resolution — from the City of Acworth, the mayor, Acworth City Council, Acworth Chief of Police Wayne Dennard, entire Acworth Police Department and city employees — notes that the city is “saddened by the tragic events that have recently occurred across the country…”

The resolution continues, stating that racism has no place in Acworth and that the city pledges to continue its push for inclusivity. The document also makes mention of the roles Acworth police promise to abide by.

The police department said they are diverse and employ people of some of the highest ethical standards. Additionally, APD receives yearly training that exceeds Georgia’s requirement for police officer training and promise to exceed expectations the community has for its police.

Thursday evening, Houston thanked fellow councilmembers for passing the resolution and said he was grateful to live in a community where racism is firmly condemned.

When the council was taking comments from the public, Houston’s granddaughter addressed the council about local protests in support of the Black Lives Matter movement and her fears as a Black person.

“I actually have a younger brother which makes me terrified,” Houston’s granddaughter said. “Not only in this city but when I travel, I wonder if he will come back home safe. …I shouldn’t have to worry about getting shot in my own backyard, I shouldn’t have to worry about getting shot in my sleep, but yet I do, because this is reality.”

Houston’s granddaughter mentioned that her classmate had organized a protest in support of Black Lives Matter in Kennesaw and asked Dennard and Allegood what the steps were to hosting a peaceful protest in Acworth.

Houston said he attended the Kennesaw protest and thought it was incredible and proud of the protestors.

The resolution came to be during a Cobb County forum on the recent police murders, Houston said after the meeting. Allegood said during the forum that Acworth would be presenting a resolution condemning racism.

Houston said that he and his wife also participated in a protest in support of Black people in Savannah during a sabbatical and that he will participate in the protest his granddaughter approached the mayor about having.

“Police violence against black people in Minnesota and around the country is unacceptable and has no place in our society,” Houston said. “I support all peaceful protests to bring attention to a nationwide problem, that otherwise may not get the attention needed.”

When asked what steps could be taken to end the use of excessive force by police, Houston said that placing non-biased people in charge and ending qualified immunity for police officers would be a good start.

During the meeting, officials announced that this upcoming Wednesday, June 10, there will be a community conversation on current events where members can discuss and learn about systemic racism and implicit bias.

“It is our hope that this Community Event will have the community talking and looking for resolutions to this nationwide problem well after the meeting has adjourned,” Houston said.

Arielle Robinson is a student at Kennesaw State University. She also freelances for the Atlanta-Journal Constitution and is the former president of KSU’s chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists as well as a former CNN intern. She enjoys music, reading, and live shows.